[SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

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pkitty
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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#81 Postby pkitty » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:01 am

Fponkdamn wrote:
pkitty wrote:That's a cool idea. My only hesitation is that so many of them seem like they do have SW analogs. It feels like with a custom trapping or minor tweak, Hypnotic Suggestion = Puppet, Presence Sense = Exalted Darksight, and Empathy = Mind Reading.


Absolutely true; of course, the versions listed are more subtle, at-will, and free. The point was to give them low-grade, subtle versions of the powers that were "always on" while still maintaining flavor. For reference, Palladium Rifts had both "Hypnotic Suggestion" and "Control Others" as powers, so there was a distinction between subtle influence and brute-force control. I think it's cool to give them both.

Hmm. Think I'll sleep on this and mull it over.

pkitty wrote:I'm a fan of the Mental trapping, obviously, but Bio-Manipulation seems at odds with the Rifts psionic powers that I've read. I'm not an (original) Rifts expert, mind you, so I may be mistaken -- but all of the damaging psionic attacks that I've seen (like Mind Bolt) are external ones that have to penetrate armor.


Bio-Manipulation was a specific Super Psionic power; and one of the better ones, almost a "must-have" for Melters. It allowed you to do damage direct to hit points without any physical sign, wracking them with pain and causing heart attacks, etc. (among other effects!). So by allowing it as an optional trapping, it allows for both flashy "Mind Bolts" that shatter doors and robots, and more subtle "Bio-Manipulation" against living targets. Options!

I know that one, but Bio-Manipulation wasn't a damaging power; it was basically best represented as Blind, Confusion, or Entangle, all of which already ignore armor. I guess I'm just hesitant to step on the Mystic's unique "Soul Blast" trapping.
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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#82 Postby Fponkdamn » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:09 am

pkitty wrote:I know that one, but Bio-Manipulation wasn't a damaging power; it was basically best represented as Blind, Confusion, or Entangle, all of which already ignore armor. I guess I'm just hesitant to step on the Mystic's unique "Soul Blast" trapping.


Bio-Manipulation did damage. Check out the "pain" entry - you take one damage direct to Hit Points for every minute the power lasts, which had a 4d4 minute duration. So they were taking 4-16 points of damage direct to Hit Points over the course of several minutes. It wasn't a "bam, you're dead!" power, but it COULD kill someone with a heart attack or stroke, and it also pretty much completely incapacitated you in the meantime. Plus in the Palladium Rifts rules, as soon as you took ANY HP damage you had to start rolling on all these injury charts - it was brutal. The most direct analogy in SW would be putting someone directly into Incapacitated and having them start making their Bleeding Out rolls, but that's a bit much.

So since a.) it's established lore that Mind Melters could kill someone with their brain and b.) the Mind Melters need a serious boost to stay competitive with the other IFWs, it seemed to fit.

In fact, it fits BETTER than it does for the Mystic, who had no ability anything even remotely like Soul Blast in Palladium. Mystics got a LOT of non-lore abilities (and they're all cool so I'm not complaining!). The main reason to use Bio-Manipulation, though, is to match up with "Pure Force of Will" as an explanation for how a Mind Melter can hurt someone without any visual representation of it; the victim just starts bleeding out the eyes and collapses in pain with no apparent cause.

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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#83 Postby Deskepticon » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:34 am

pkitty wrote:
Deskepticon wrote:
pkitty wrote:Example: Boost Trait lets me improve my or my friends' skills. Boost Trait + Jolt (Electricity) lets me do so and give them a free roll to recover from being Shaken. What's the drawback? There is none.

Jolt takes effect only on a raise. It's not automatic; the caster needs to do something exceptional. Getting a raise is the "drawback."

That's not a drawback. A drawback would be something that weakens or limits the power itself. Jolt doesn't do that. You get the full effect of the underlying power, plus you add either "nothing" or "a free unShaken roll"; there is zero chance of your power being less useful because it's linked to Jolt.

That was in no way what I implied. I'm not even sure how one can make that mental leap. I mentioned the part about the raise because you left it out, making your comment a bit misleading. Also, I put drawback in quotes specifically for that distinction, and because it was the word you used.

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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#84 Postby dentris » Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:23 am

pkitty wrote:
dentris wrote:In the core rules, whenever a trapping adds something to a power, it comes with a drawback (less damage, higher pp cost, some creatures have immunity/resistance to it, etc.). In that sense, adding à benefit to this specific trapping (hard to detect) does make it unbalanced in the strictest sense.

This is incorrect. Reread the trappings in the core rules and you'll find that they either add a minor benefit (with absolutely no drawback) or they add a significant benefit with some sort of drawback.

Example: Boost Trait lets me improve my or my friends' skills. Boost Trait + Jolt (Electricity) lets me do so and give them a free roll to recover from being Shaken. What's the drawback? There is none.

Basically, Trappings are a reward for taking the time to customize your powers and adding some flavor to the game (and giving some teeth to things like "vulnerable to cold" and "immune to heat/fire").


There is a drawback. Like I said in my original post, some creatures are potentially immune to electricity. In your example, you couldn't use Lower Trait + Jolt against a Lightning Elemental for example. It could also be argued that the same Elemental is immune to the beneficial effects of Boost Trait as well. It is a very minor drawback, but it is there.

The equivalent for the Mind Melter would be simple: he cannot affect a creature lacking a mind. A golem would be immune to his Puppet power, for example.
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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#85 Postby Sitting Duck » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:19 am

ValhallaGH wrote:Savage Rifts setting rules allow casting multiple powers at standard multi-action penalties. See the "Casting More than One Spell Per Round" sidebar on page 110.


Gah! What can I say but that the sidebar material can be really easy to miss. Third time's the charm?

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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#86 Postby Brickulos » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:25 am

With BAH it seems like an unnecessary restriction to have to worry about rank. In some cases, a MM might start without any Novice powers anyway.

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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#87 Postby ValhallaGH » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:12 am

Fponkdamn wrote:Also, what touch powers are folks talking about? ... But I didn't see any other powers beside that actually require touching a victim - am I missing one?

There are some delightfully offensive uses of disguise, especially combined with a good Smarts Trick or Stealth roll. Then there are custom-powers, because people always got to tweak magic.

Sure, the overwhelming majority of touch range powers are beneficial, from armor to healing to wall walker. Even so, I've had players say, "I don't let him cast that on me" and the inherit protection of Parry was relevant. (For reference: there is no separate Trait roll in that case, the arcane skill roll to activate the power simply has to equal or exceed 4 and the Parry of the target; the latter factoring in the +2 for Touch Attacks.)
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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#88 Postby Fponkdamn » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:25 pm

Fair enough. Either way, I think the "touch" issue is covered in my wording.

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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#89 Postby Sitting Duck » Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:24 am

Brickulos wrote:With BAH it seems like an unnecessary restriction to have to worry about rank.


In the posts which ultimately led to coming up with Speed of Thought, one of the concerns was that it shouldn't apply to powers like Puppet. This seemed like the simplest way to handle it.

{quote]In some cases, a MM might start without any Novice powers anyway.[/quote]

Theoretically possible. But I'd like to think that any GM worth their screen would take aside any player gaming BAH to such a degree for a nice, quiet chat.
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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#90 Postby ValhallaGH » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:48 am

Sitting Duck wrote:But I'd like to think that any GM worth their screen would take aside any player gaming BAH to such a degree for a nice, quiet chat.

Why? Some of the best powers are Novice rank. If he wants to gimp himself, why should I stop him? Like having Vigor d4, it's a bad idea that I'll discuss with him, but I'm not worried about it disrupting my game.
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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#91 Postby Café Truck » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:43 pm

ValhallaGH wrote:
Sitting Duck wrote:But I'd like to think that any GM worth their screen would take aside any player gaming BAH to such a degree for a nice, quiet chat.

Why? Some of the best powers are Novice rank. If he wants to gimp himself, why should I stop him? Like having Vigor d4, it's a bad idea that I'll discuss with him, but I'm not worried about it disrupting my game.


Savage Rifts was my first BAH campaign, and I did my character a disservice by focusing too much on high ranking powers and edges at creation. Still a fun character to play, but missing some of the basics. And, as it turns out, not unbalanced (thanks to the "gonzo" nature of Rifts in the first place).

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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#92 Postby shinryu » Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:59 pm

One interesting idea that occurred to me for bolting some existing SW rules onto the Mind Melter might be to give them access to Rituals as from the Horror Companion. If they take their time and REALLY think about it there's not much they can't do. Powers for Concentration duration in particular could be very nasty, as could the ability to ignore range limitations. "Give me five minutes alone with the guard. Trust me."

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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#93 Postby pkitty » Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:27 pm

shinryu wrote:One interesting idea that occurred to me for bolting some existing SW rules onto the Mind Melter might be to give them access to Rituals as from the Horror Companion. If they take their time and REALLY think about it there's not much they can't do. Powers for Concentration duration in particular could be very nasty, as could the ability to ignore range limitations. "Give me five minutes alone with the guard. Trust me."

I don't have the Horror Companion. Could you give a quick summary?
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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#94 Postby ValhallaGH » Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:36 pm

Do a Dramatic Task to generate a power effect with extras (chosen from a list). Extras include range, damage, duration, effect strength, and power point efficiency.
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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#95 Postby pkitty » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:22 pm

ValhallaGH wrote:Do a Dramatic Task to generate a power effect with extras (chosen from a list). Extras include range, damage, duration, effect strength, and power point efficiency.

Huh, interesting. I need to check that out. But tbh that feels more like "magic" than "psi."
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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#96 Postby Deskepticon » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:33 pm

pkitty wrote:Huh, interesting. I need to check that out. But tbh that feels more like "magic" than "psi."

I think the idea was to maintain LoS and really screw around in the target's head.

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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#97 Postby ValhallaGH » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:00 am

pkitty wrote:
ValhallaGH wrote:Do a Dramatic Task to generate a power effect with extras (chosen from a list). Extras include range, damage, duration, effect strength, and power point efficiency.

Huh, interesting. I need to check that out. But tbh that feels more like "magic" than "psi."

Either/Or. Like most Dramatic Tasks, skilled others can help you out; a mind meld ceremony is a thing often attributed to psionics. Like most things in Savage Worlds, a change in trappings makes silly things into a nearly perfect blend of mechanics and names.

As an aside, the Horror Companion is an outstanding GM aide for all Savage Campaigns. Even when you don't run horror games, it still has excellent insight, advice, and game mechanics for scenes of fear, horror, and weirdness. Useful for players (who use 19 to 51 of the 144 pages, depending upon the GM), it is excellent for game masters (who use between 125 and 144 pages); heck, pages 53 to 125 are creature stats, including guidelines on build-your-own vampires and zombies, multiple dark gods, the TPK-causing Danse Macabre, and xenomorphs similar to but legally distinct from the Alien franchise. I always crack it open when working on a new campaign.
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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#98 Postby Fponkdamn » Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:57 pm

Agree; Horror Companion rules. In fact, I already use the Ritual rules in that book for Ritual Magic in Savage Rifts. In Palladium Rifts, PPE-casters could cast spells via Ritual for additional power; there wasn't really a system for that in Savage Rifts, but the HC rules work perfectly for it.

That isn't something everyone will care about, but I'm specifically running Savage Rifts for my old Palladium Rifts group. They LOVE the new system, but there are occasionally questions like "Hey, in old Rifts I could do this... is there a way to do that here?" And I definitely want to say "yes" when I can without breaking the game. So having the other companion books is a cool way to do that.

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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#99 Postby shinryu » Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:30 pm

The Horror Companion is definitely a fave just on the strength of the ritual magic rules (though the rest is pretty cool too), plus there's more than enough to bang out Shifters and Diabolists in there and a number of terrible monstrosities (that might need a little buff) to vomit out of rifts at your players. The idea of applying ritual magic rules to the Mind Melter would be that it would give the framework exclusive access to some very nasty effects, like ignoring line of sight and keeping powers active with just concentration. I wouldn't think it would be a literal "ritual" sort of thing so much as just quietly meditating and setting up your power to its fullest extent for a few minutes (typically one roll = one minute). Burning a little extra ISP with Major Psionic to offset the casting penalties would make it not even that difficult of a task overall.

For the "five minutes alone with the guard" scenario I mentioned earlier, essentially using the duration equals concentration effect would allow you to puppet the guard for as long as you were thinking about it without burning ISP, leading to all sorts of fun like "getting taken down to Cell Block D without a particularly thorough check of your weapons and then, hey, would you kindly choke your buddy out from behind and let me out of here eight hours later with no additional ISP cost" and that sort of thing. With telepathy thrown in you wouldn't even have to have the character present for that sort of thing. Other psis would have to burn tons of ISP to pull something like that off for the long haul, but a Mind Melter using the ritual rules just needs a couple of minutes to worm his way deep enough into the target's head and then he runs the show till he decides he doesn't need to anymore. Similarly, keeping even Exalted Armor or Exalted Quickness up for as long as you want with a little prep time would be very potent. Alternatively, with the invisibility trappings, just being alone in a bar and concentrating for a few minutes on the guy across the room could let you pop his skull open with an extra 4d6 damage if you take the extra time. It is subtle but very potent advantage for the framework over other psionic characters.

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Re: [SR] Making the Mind Melter worth choosing

#100 Postby pkitty » Sat Sep 10, 2016 1:47 pm

Update

I finally got a chance to borrow a friend's Hell On Earth: Reloaded, and I love the Psyker powers. Since the MM is still a bit weak on paper (even if you consider the Mental trapping worth an Edge), I thought it would be worth importing a couple of "signature powers" that only the MM has access to by default. (I plan on letting other psis learn these but only if they pay a one-Edge "tax" called Mind Melter Training.) So I added Mindwipe and Telekinetic Squeeze as options (not freebies).

But that meant coming up with mega versions. So I'd love if anyone familiar with HOE:R and SR could critique my mega versions of these two powers. (I don't want to post the originals here, since that's a violation of copyright.)

1. Mindwipe normally costs 3 PP and takes five minutes, during which you basically have to restrain the person. So the mega, Exalted Mindwipe, costs 15 power points and may be attempted as a standard action. (Yeah, that's really expensive, but it's a permanent change and this is adding huge utility to it!)

2. Telekinetic Squeeze normally costs 3 PP, is rolled at -2 to Psionics, and ignores non-magical armor. Since it's an attack from inside the target, I ruled that it can affect someone with magical M.D.C. armor (e.g., from Greater Armor). The mega, Telekinetic Slaughter, costs 6 power points, does not suffer the -2 penalty to Psionics, and affects everyone in a Small Burst Template whom the Mind Melter wishes to target. (I kept it SBT because I don't want CS squads to present zero challenge.)
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